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04-19-2010, 09:46 PM   #1
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Next Upgrade, Body or Lens, advice

Ok guys,

Due to a new promotion at my job, I'll have some extra spending money this summer.

looking at having close to $300sh by the end of May and hopefully $550sh by August.

I'm looking at either getting a FA 50mm 1.4 or upgrading my body to a K10 or K20.

In July, I'm going to see some friends and their new child, and am hoping to do some photos for them. In August, going to NJ for the same with in-laws.


My current set-up is as follows.

K110D (have used this to do senior photos and other shoots that have turned out well.) pictures can be seen at http://www.facebook.com/pages/James-Jones-Photographics/306378463382?

DA 18-55mm kit lens
FA 35-135mm 1:3.5-4.5
Tamron 70-300mm 1:4-5.6
SMC Pentax 50mm 1:1.7
SMC Pentax 28mm 1:2.8
Sears 135mm 2.8

And two flashes
Vivitar SF-4000 slave flash
Vivitar DF-383



Any advice is greatly appreciated.

04-19-2010, 09:52 PM   #2
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If there's nothing wrong with your camera, then don't get rid of it, instead get the lens, since the camera is really just whatever you take the photos with, and the lenses are the important parts. The FA 50mm f/1.4 however isn't the first I would recommend, it's a bit soft and there are plenty other great prime lenses with large apertures that you could consider (one being the Pentax F 50mm f/1.7 which is much sharper wide open). If you don't like your camera though, and feel it's time to upgrade, then get a used K10D, they're about $300ish used and that would be a great camera to upgrade to. It's really your choice (don't you hate it when people tell you that?) what you want to do, but I think that since you have the M? A? 50mm that the F version would be a nice little upgrade from that one.
04-19-2010, 10:07 PM   #3
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First congrat for the promo. There is another thread that may be relevant : https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/98203-best-body-best-lens.html.

I think that you have a tough decision. I can see the value to go for a newer body, but a good lens is priceless. Personally, I would suggest possibly to consider the Voigtlander 58mm f1.4. It is MF and costs the same price as the DA50mm f1.4, and the IQ is outstanding. See for example a recent thread https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/97973-da%2A55m...mm-f1-4-a.html.

Considering your lens collection, another alternative would be Pentax SMC-DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited (See test Pentax SMC-DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited - Review / Test Report).

Hope that the comment will help....

Last edited by hcc; 04-19-2010 at 10:54 PM.
04-20-2010, 03:03 AM   #4
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Congratulations on your promotion.
IMO, if it ain't broken, don't fixed it. So your current set-up should remain while getting additional or new lens. Reason is the camera is a box you take photos with, and the lenses are the important parts. (Note : I started a thread as pointed out by a fellow member here on Best body or Best lens)

For the primes, my pick will be the SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.7. This is a sharpe lens when open wide.

Cheers.

04-20-2010, 10:26 AM   #5
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Congrats on getting an upgrade at work. That's a rare thing these days as is even having a job that's worth going to (topic for another discussion)...

Given your list, since it contains the 50 f1:1.7, I would leave the FA50 f1.4 on the shelf and get the K20d. The K10d is a very nice camera as well but especially at the price nowadays, the K20d adds so much. By August, you may be able to afford the spare change for the K7. Now, I say that with ONE single caveat..

IF you like to do Long exposures (more than 30 seconds) and do them often, the K10d is definitely worth looking into. It is the only one of the Pentax flagship line to allow one to turn off the noise reduction at long shutter speeds. I keep mine specifically for that reason.

04-20-2010, 01:28 PM   #6
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If you are happy with the lenses that you are using, then get the body upgrade but if you think that your lenses are still lacking, then improve upon your lenses.
The upgrade to a body would improve upon the Mpix on your photos and you will be able to crop more without any fear of loss in detail.
The added Mpix also adds detail on your photos..albeit it also adds noise too when shooting in low light.
04-20-2010, 08:33 PM   #7
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I would go with with some lens and wait for the next pentax prosumer camera.
04-21-2010, 03:59 PM   #8
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I'm really leaning towards a new body..


I was looking at k10vs k20, but now I'm letting the K-X enter the picture.

Its low-iso performance and also the fact that it takes AA's is what has it in the lead.

04-21-2010, 09:09 PM   #9
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for lenses you already have short portrait covered with the 50. if i were in your shoes i would get something that gets me something new. because you take senior pictures you may want to look into something in the longer portrait range such as the SMC Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited or a dedicated portrait lens like the SMC Pentax-F 85mm F2.8 Soft if you can find one (though that lens is a bit to handle on modern bodies, apparently). you could even go all the way to the SMC SMC Pentax-F 100mm F2.8 Macro. that's in the long and headshot portrait range. it also gets you true macro.

the other option would be a proper wide angle such as the SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited. your 28 is really just a perfect normal lens on the k110d. good indoor lens for family shots.


the k-x is the best between those cameras IQ wise. the K10 sensor is nearly half a decade old now (having been introduced in nikon's D200 camera). further, batteries may be difficult to come by shortly as the K10 itself will be 4 this year. the samsung sensor in the k20 hasn't been very impressive to me. granted, you give up seals. you also give up some handling features (dual control wheels). but those aren't something you're used to at the moment so it would be a paper loss, as they say.
04-26-2010, 08:42 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
The FA 50mm f/1.4 however isn't the first I would recommend, it's a bit soft.
The FA 50mm f/1.4 is soft? Please show me any photography site that backs up this up. If you're trying to say it's soft at f1.4, then say so, don't spread misinformation like you just did. Sure it's a bit soft at f1.4, but at least it does f1.4, and it is quite useable at f1.4 with amazing bokeh. Stopped down it is tack sharp, as shown in every review.

Last edited by audiobomber; 04-27-2010 at 04:24 AM.
04-27-2010, 04:17 AM   #11
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Go for a new body. I agree with everyone that glass is important, but the biggest benefit of Pentax (shake reduction in body), isn't present on your current camera. If you had a K100 or K100 super, I probably would say get new glass instead, but I think either the K10, kx, or K20 will give you a big jump in your keeper rate over your current camera.

The FA 50 is a great lens. It is a little soft at f1.4, but then again, how many lenses go to 1.4? Stopped down even to f2, it is quite sharp. I personally didn't like the focal length very much, but you should know what it is like since you have the SMC 50 f1.7.
04-27-2010, 05:16 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jqjones Quote
I'm really leaning towards a new body..
I was looking at k10vs k20, but now I'm letting the K-X enter the picture.
Its low-iso performance and also the fact that it takes AA's is what has it in the lead.
I agree, upgrade the body, it will upgrade all your lenses. You won't go wrong with either a K-x or K20. They'll both give you shake reduction, more pixels, much faster handling, dust control and better ISO performance compared to your K110. I'd say forget about the K10, the K20D is a very similar body with significant improvements.

I have a K20D and K-x and I disagree with you about low ISO performance. IME the K20D wins there. The K-x is almost a stop better at high ISO and offers significantly better AF in low light. Compared to the K-x, the K20D has a larger and brighter viewfinder for improved MF, more sophisticated controls, weatherproofing and more pixels for cropping. According to test results the K-x has greater dynamic range, but in practical usage I've not seen any advantage. The K-x is smaller than your current body, the K20 is larger. I prefer the larger size most of the time as it is better balanced with larger lenses and has a nicer grip, but a K-x with a pancake lens is a sweet little deal. I can see preferring AA's, I like them too, but I've never had trouble with the K20 power. The K-x pricing will likely be lower. The K20D went down in price just after the K-7 was announced, but then it crept back up and new ones are becoming scarce.
04-27-2010, 07:51 AM   #13
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The FA 50mm f1.4 in my experience, when using AF, can be soft on the K10D and K20D depending on the light. With the K20D, setting an AF adjustment can resolve this, but as it is light dependent, there isn't a single setting that works across all scenes. The softness is more apparent at larger apertures, but even at the smaller apertures it can have an effect on your photos. This has been the only Pentax lens I own that exhibits this to the point that I can easily notice it.

The K110D didn't have SR and I think the addition of it is a pretty important consideration in getting a new body. I think the K-X would be a great upgrade for you, and if you can swing the kit with the dual lens, DAL 18-55mm and DAL 55-300mm, you will gain a lot in the upgrade. The DAL 18-55mm is supposed to be the same optics as the 18-55mm II so it is an upgrade to your DA 18-55mm. A lot of people with the 70-300mm, both Sigma and Tamron owners, have been very happy with the DA 55-300mm after purchasing it. They definitely call it an upgrade. You could probably sell your older lenses for enough to offset the cost of the getting the dual kit over the single lens kit, as well.

If you are going to go with a body, probably the longer you wait to purchase, the lower the price will be. I have no clue if buying earlier for a lens like the FA 50mm f1.4 is a good idea, or not. There have been price increases and I personally don't think those price increases are sustainable, but that is colored by my personal finical situation. It could be there is another increase on the way. You'll just have to let the chips fall where they do.

Thank you
Russell

Last edited by Russell-Evans; 04-27-2010 at 08:16 AM.
04-27-2010, 08:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Russell-Evans Quote
The FA 50mm f1.4 in my experience, when using AF, can be soft on the K10D and K20D depending on the light. With the K20D, setting an AF adjustment can resolve this, but as it is light dependent, there isn't a single setting that works across all scenes. The softness is more apparent at larger apertures, but even at the smaller apertures it can have an effect on your photos. This has been the only Pentax lens I own that exhibits this to the point that I can easily notice it.
All Pentax cameras except the K-7 front focus under Tungsten light at apertures of f/2.8 and wider, with any lens and it gets worse the wider the aperture. This is due to the AF system, which was only upgraded to compensate for tungsten light in the K-7.

I tested the FA 35, FA 50, D FA 100 and 16-45 on my K20D and my K100DS. All missed focus at f2.8 and all were dead on at f4 under tungsten light (even MF focus confirmation was fooled). In daylight all focussed correctly on either camera, regardless of aperture. That's my experience.

Last edited by audiobomber; 04-27-2010 at 08:30 AM.
04-27-2010, 08:34 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
All Pentax cameras except the K-7 will front focus under Tungsten light at apertures of f/2.8 and wider with any lens, due to the AF system.
I have issues with the FA 50mm f1.4 needing focus adjustment not only in Tungsten, but in other light as well. Most surprisingly shade will throw off the focus. It is a funny little lens and my only f1.4. The closest lens I have to it is the FA 35mm f2, and it is very stable with the AF system.

Thank you
Russell
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